As far as American roots music is concerned, Jimmie Vaughan is pure royalty. The Texas bluesman simply oozes authenticity, precisely because, as the saying goes, he ain't frontin'.
With the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Vaughan made Texas blues and the R&B of the Deep South something that mainstream audiences could relate to. When he co-created the "Family Style" album with his late brother, the equally iconic Stevie Ray Vaughan, it seemed that the Vaughan family had all but singlehandedly sparked a modern blues renaissance. Since the tragic death of his kid brother, Vaughan has been releasing strong solo albums viewing everything from jazz standards to soul and R&B chestnuts through the lens of a fully tenured bluesman.
Now, Vaughan is poised to release an album that, it would seem, he's been preparing for his whole career. On July 6, "Jimmy Vaughan Plays Blues, Ballads and Favorites" will present Vaughan as an interpreter of the songs that made him fall in love with music in the first place. Among them are tunes by Little Richard, Jimmy Reed, Roy Milton and Roscoe Gordon. On Tuesday, a mere two weeks prior to the album's release -- and just before he takes part in Eric Clapton's yearly Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago -- Vaughan and his Tilt A Whirl Band (with featured guest Lou Ann Barton) will perform as part of Artpark's free Tuesdays In the Park series. Show time is 6:30 p.m. For info: www.artpark.net.
-- Jeff Miers